A Simplified Method For Approximation Of Shortages Of Rural Physicians
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A Simplified Method For Approximation Of Shortages Of Rural Physicians

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    Public Health Rep
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    The distribution of physicians can be mapped and shortage areas and the number of physicians needed in them can be determined by use of the simple, inexpensive method described. However, the limitations of the methodology must be borne in mind. One should visualize the physician shortage as only a rough indication of the need for primary health care services. More detailed analysis of each area may be required before a new service is actually established, for example, developing a community profile of the planned service area (age sex mix, income, education, race, occupation, and so on), surveying service-level expectation in the community, or studying patients' use of primary care providers in neighboring areas. Even more important may be the selection among a number of possible choices of service alternatives, such as satellite practices, use of physician's assistants or nurse practitioners, or group practices. Estimates based on simplified data and approximations are useful in leading planners to areas of probable undersupply and in helping them to avoid the problems of oversupply. These estimates identify target areas that appear to have physician shortages and point out where more refined analysis should be concentrated.
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